Georges River Councillors have been asked to publicly commit to a Pledge of Respect in the upcoming local government elections.
In a Notice of Motion moved at the July 26 Georges River Council meeting, Councillor Sandy Grekas requested councillors to join the Australian Local Government Women's Association (ALGWA) and call on all candidates for the upcoming local government elections, to take the following Pledge of Respect:
"To be respectful to other candidates, Council staff and community members; Where I observe disrespectful behaviour, I will call it out; Adhere to Council's Code of Conduct as a sign of good faith; and If elected, continue to model respect."
"This issue is timely. I ask you not only to support the motion but to publicly commit to the Pledge of Respect, as well," Cr Grekas said.
"The upcoming election should be a contest of ideas. It's an opportunity to put forth a new vision for the community and to persuade voters why your vision is worthy enough for their vote," she said.
"Sinking to the depths of smear campaigns, dirt files and dirty tricks that we have seen in previous campaigns really does nothing for our democracy and our local community. To me it's a sign of a campaign bereft of original ideas and an inability to articulate any vision. It just goes back to that old adage - you play the ball not the man - or woman.
"All candidates should show their fitness for office by not only pledging to be respectful but pledging to also abide by Council's Code of Conduct, the very Code of Conduct that they will be bound by if they are elected.
"At the last election I witnessed disrespect and I called it out. I intend to do so again at this upcoming election and I hope that others will do the same.
"Making a public commitment to this Pledge of Respect shows our community that you are modelling best practice for public officials, you're contributing to public debate in a positive way and you are living up to the ideals of the Pledge and that you are held accountable to that Pledge.
"I ask that you not only support this motion but commit to the Pledge as well."
Councillors voted to support the motion.
This will include the requirement that the council's general manager distribute the Pledge to all registered candidates and provide an online public register to enable candidates to register their Pledge and enable the community to ascertain which candidates have taken the Pledge of Respect.